On 19 November 1952 the College of General Practitioners was established quietly at a meeting at the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.
A BMA report produced under the chairmanship of Sir Henry Cohen in 1950 had supported the role of the GP. It said their status and prestige should be the equal of colleagues in any and every specialty, and that no higher ability, industry or zeal was required for the adequate pursuit of any of them.
The formation of the college followed letters in the medical press, and other proposals to form a college, but it was not entirely popular with the medical establishment. The more colleges, the fewer honours likely to accrue to the older established ones.
Yet there remained an atmosphere of criticism of the craft. Years later, Charles Moran could refer to GPs superciliously as those who had fallen off the ladder to a consultant career, a remark neither forgotten nor forgiven by GPs.
Two decades later, Marshall Marinker, an academic GP, could say that the absence in a medical school of a department of general practice was no longer the hallmark of the traditionalist or super-technologist but merely of the quaint.
- For a fuller account of the events, see www.nhshistory.net